We arrived in Paris, dragging our bags and walking from the train station to our next VRBO.
We challenged the boys to try and spot the Eiffel Tower as our apartment was within sight of it. We passed a Subway restaurant on the way, which smelled delicious, and so we told the boys that whoever spots the tower first got to choose dinner out for the family that night. James spotted the Eiffel Tower once we reached our fifth floor apartment first, so guess what we had for supper that night? That’s right, Subway sandwiches! They were fresh and delicious and it was a rare treat.
Richard had a long and ambitious list of things to do in Paris, but we decided to not bite off more than we could chew so that we didn’t have any burnout. The fifth floor apartment had an attic area, where Richard and I slept, but it was a nice space for the boys to play Lego as well. They had crawl through closets so the boys quickly set up a secret fort where you had to show a used train stub for admittance.
I had done a bit of research on fun things to do with kids in Paris. Some of the parks were too far away. You could rent a guide and do a scavenger hunt in the Louvre, but that was over 500 Euros for a visit, so we vetoed that. We have also spent a lot of time and money on museums and after a while they kind of run together and look the same, especially to to the boys. We decided to ride the batobus which is like a taxi boat that runs along the Seine River and makes stops at Notre Dame, The Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. It is a great, if not slower way to see the old, historical part of Paris. We took the metro to the Eiffel Tower and viewed it from a distance and then bought two day tickets for the batobus and spent the rest of the afternoon riding that. It was a little hot and a little boring (for the boys), but it was a nice way to travel.
Thursday we bit the bullet and decided to spend a few hours at the Louvre. We rode the metro and then the batobus again to get there. Again, we had done a little reading about how to tackle the Louvre with children and we decided to see some big pieces with big impact, go through the Egyptian section and end with spotting the Mona Lisa. The key is to leave before the meltdown hits otherwise your kids will never want to view another art museum ever, ever again! We almost succeeded! The boys enjoyed the big pieces, they loved the Ancient Egypt stuff and then we kinda dragged/carried Ethan to get to the Mona Lisa. There were so many people and so many stairs! We were all pooped by the time we declared enough! We had a very nice meal in a restaurant in the Louvre and then went home.
Friday was a home day. We took naps and had quiet time, we played Dominion, bought some groceries and just recuperated. The next day we packed a picnic and had lunch at the park within view of the Eiffel Tower. We felt very Parisian! The boys played in the grassy area and we could relax a bit. We ended the day with ordering pizza and watching a movie with the boys.
Sunday was Eiffel Tower day! We got up early, had breakfast standing in line for tickets and by 10:30 we were riding the elevator up to the summit! It also happened to be my birthday that day, so it was a fantastic way to spend the day. We read about the history, how long it took to build, the apartment at the top, and the construction techniques. It certainly piqued our little engineer, Matthew’s brain. It was all very impressive. We found that the view from the second story was almost better than from the top of the summit. Lots of great pictures! We picked up our touristy tchotckes on our way out; key chains and mini snow globes for everyone!
After our week in Paris, we learned that we only scratched the surface for all the things to see and do in this big city. We also realized again that we need to pace ourselves, especially because we have three boys, one of whom is a four year old. We will be back one day, maybe sooner rather than later even!
On to some RVing!